Several of the world’s greatest opera stars returned to the Royal Opera House to bid farewell to the final staging of John Copley’s La Bohème, notably Russian soprano Anna Netrebko as Mimi and Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja as her lover Rodolfo. Puccini’s weepie has had 26 revivals and well over 200 sold out performances.
It’s one of the most popular classics and the Royal Opera’s best loved staging, regularly revived since its opening night in 1974 and now for the last time. Anna and Joseph’s final performance was televised as part of ROH’s Live Cinema season to selected locations across the UK, on 10 June. I actually saw part of it on the big screen at Trafalgar Square – the affecting duet in Act 3 between Anna and Joseph.
The Telegraph’s Rupert Christiansen wrote in his four star review “star casting gives a fitting farewell to John Copley’s 40 year production”.
“Calleja is passionate, lyrical, beautifully impassive. Netrebko sounds glorious and acts with detailed naturalism that can be startlingly effective,” wrote Tim Ashley in The Guardian.
I left a drawing at the ROH stage door for Anna to sign on her final night and it came back, written in gold ink… nice touch.